Thursday, 7 February 2008

BSA Students and Museums

BSA Students had learned skills of working on museum collections in Greece, and the BSA was responsible for the publications of catalogues of the Sparta and the Akropolis Museums. Cecil Harcourt-Smith had been seconded from the British Museum to serve as Director of the BSA. Surprisingly only two of the students seem to have worked at the British Museum, and neither in the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities. John P. Droop was an assistant to Aurel Stein (1909-11), whereas E.S.G. Robinson joined the Department of Coins and Medals as an assistant in 1912 just after his time in Athens. The department was then under the Keepership of George Hill who had been working on the catalogue of Greek coins. Robinson in effect took over from the work of Warwick Wroth who had died in 1911. Robinson continued to work in the Department, apart from an interlude of war service, until his retirement in 1952; he was promoted to Keeper in 1949.

Several students found work in the University museums at Oxford and Cambridge. M. Rhodes James was the assistant director of the Fitzwilliam Museum (1886-93) while he was admitted to work with Ernest Gardner on the Cyprus Exploration Fund. The Fitzwilliam helped to sponsor the excavations and as a result acquired a number of finds including sculpture. He served under John H. Middleton (1889-92), and succeeded him as Director (1893-1908). Grose joined the museum in 1914 working on a catalogue of the Greek collection.

In Oxford David G. Hogarth succeed Arthur Evans as Keeper at the Ashmolean Museum in November 1908. During this period he developed the collections of Cretan and Hittite antiquities. During the First World War he served in Cairo, returning to Oxford in June 1919. After the war he continued to work on the Hittites, but failing health restricted his activities and he died in 1927. J.G. Milne was appointed Deputy Keeper of Coins, Ashmolean Museum (1931-51), a post formerly held (until 1928) by Humfry Payne. Milne was also a reader in numismatics (1930-38) and librarian of Corpus Christi College (1933-46).

Other former students of the BSA were involved with national collections. Adolph Paul Oppé worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum for two periods (1906-07, 1910-13), and Alan J.B. Wace became Deputy Keeper (1924-34) after his time as Director at the School came to an end. Wace’s expertise with textiles from the Aegean and Anatolia was used to great effect. Solomon C. Kaines Smith was appointed the first official lecturer at the National Gallery in London (1914-16): the position was disrupted by the First World War. After a short career lecturing in Cambridge, he became director of the City Art Gallery in Leeds (1924-27), followed by keeper of the City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham (1927-41).

Two students held museum positions outside British. C.C. Edgar, a former inspector of antiquities in Egypt, was appointed assistant keeper at the Cairo Museum in 1920, and Keeper in 1923. In North America C.H. Hawes was appointed Associate Director of the Museum in Fine Arts in Boston.

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